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Marcy Darnovsky, 1-510-625-0819, ext. 305 or 1-510-913-7714 (mobile)
Email: mdarnovsky[AT]geneticsandsociety[DOT]org

About the Center for Genetics and Society

The Center for Genetics and Society is a nonprofit information and public affairs organization working to encourage responsible uses and effective societal governance of human genetic, reproductive, and biomedical technologies. CGS is a 501(c)3 project of the TidesCenter and is funded by philanthropic foundations and individual contributions.

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CGS in the News

General Information

Email: info[AT]geneticsandsociety[DOT]org

Voice messages: 510-625-0819, ext. 0


­Past Events

Press Releases:

Comment on UK Decision to Move Ahead with “3-Person IVF”[Press statement]December 15th, 2016The decision is part of a disturbing trend toward the normalization of an experimental technology that is still widely considered unsafe, and whose implications for future generations are unknown.
Comment on "3-person IVF" procedures for infertility reportedly conducted in Ukraine[Press statement]October 10th, 2016“These developments are another urgent sign that we need clear rules placing heritable human genetic modification off-limits on a national and international level.”
Comment on use of mitochondrial manipulation techniques by US scientists in Mexico[Press statement]September 27th, 2016US fertility doctors announce the live birth of a child with the DNA of three people, performed in Mexico to avoid US regulation.
Public Interest Organization Comment on Synthetic Human Genome Project[Press statement]June 2nd, 2016Twenty-five scientists and corporate figures call for a ten-year project to construct a synthetic human genome from scratch.
Comment - Closed Harvard Meeting on Human Genome Synthesis[Press statement]May 13th, 2016A new low for scientific accountability, the semi-secret meeting looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification.
Center for Genetics and Society Letter in Opposition to California AB 2531March 30th, 2016The Center for Genetics and Society urges the California Assembly Committee on Health to oppose a proposed bill that would expand payments to women to provide their eggs for research.
Center for Genetics and Society Comments on Just-Released Report on Germline Mitochondrial Manipulations[Press statement]February 3rd, 2016The National Academy of Medicine's report conclusion – that no ethical or policy considerations stand in the way of clinical investigations going forward – seems at odds with the many cautions, risks, and concerns that it raises.
Center for Genetics and Society Statement on UK Approval of Gene Editing Research Using Human Embryos[Press statement]February 1st, 2016“Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”
Center for Genetics and Society releases open letter and report calling for prohibitions on human germline engineering[Press statement]November 29th, 2015Scholars, health practitioners, scientists, public interest advocates, and others have signed a CGS-organized open letter calling for strengthened prohibitions against heritable human genetic modification.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing Research in Human Embryos[Press statement]September 18th, 2015"If scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically modified humans."
Center for Genetics and Society comments on White House and National Academies approaches to altering the human germline[Press statement]May 27th, 2015“The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important first step."
NIH Statement on Gene Editing Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans, Says Public Interest Group[Press statement]April 29th, 2015CGS welcomes NIH Director Francis Collins' unambiguous statement that "altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes ...has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed."
Public interest group calls for strengthening global policies against human germline modification[Press statement]April 22nd, 2015“No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
United Kingdom Becomes Only Country to Allow Human Germline Modification[Press statement]February 24th, 2015The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) joins many others who believe that this is a historic mistake.
Comment on House of Commons Vote Approving the Germline Engineering Technique “3-Person IVF”[Press statement]February 3rd, 2015MPs approved the technique despite more than 40 countries and several international human rights treaties that prohibit inheritable genetic modification.
Center for Genetics and Society Releases Open Letter to UK Members of Parliament as Vote on “Mitochondrial Donation” Approaches[Press statement]January 29th, 2015Five things MPs should know about “mitochondrial donation” before casting a vote.
Center for Genetics and Society Report on Global Surrogacy Practices[Press statement]January 16th, 2015Announcing the publication of Global Surrogacy Practices, a report from the landmark Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Surrogacy held in The Hague, Netherlands in August 2014.
Egg freezing poses health risks to women[Press statement]October 15th, 2014Facebook and Apple’s egg freezing “benefit” is ill-advised for multiple reasons
UK Move Toward “3-Person IVF” is Risky and Premature, Says Public Interest Group[Press statement]July 22nd, 2014The UK Department of Health has announced it will press ahead with efforts to gain Parliamentary approval for three-person IVF.
UK Agency’s Update on “Three-Person IVF” Leaves Safety Questions Unresolved [Press statement]June 3rd, 2014Parliamentary Vote Would be Premature, Says Public Interest Group
Development in cloning research underscores need for US to prohibit reproductive cloning[Press statement]April 17th, 2014Public interest group also questions risks to women who provide eggs and implications for health equity.
FDA Should Preserve International Consensus against Human Germline Modifications[Press statement]February 19th, 2014The US Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting to discuss “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease.”
FDA’s Warning to 23andMe is a Welcome Step toward Responsible Oversight, says Center for Genetics and Society [Press statement]November 26th, 2013The US Food and Drug Administration has ordered 23andMe to “immediately discontinue marketing” its direct-to-consumer genetic tests.
Center for Genetics and Society Calls on 23andMe to Disavow “Designer Babies”: Controversial New Patent Raises Critical Questions [Press statement]October 2nd, 201323andMe's new patent is an irresponsible step that amounts to shopping for designer donors in an effort to produce designer babies.
Public Interest Group Urges UK Government Not to Break International Consensus Against Inheritable Genetic Modification[Press statement]June 27th, 2013That the UK may move toward permitting mitochondrial replacement is particularly disturbing when the safety is very much in doubt, when its usefulness is dubious, and when the claim of public support is highly misleading at best.
Research cloning development underscores the need for US to prohibit reproductive cloning[Press statement]May 15th, 2013Legislation should be put in place immediately, says public interest group
Public Interest Group Calls on UK to Reject Modifying Genes of Future Generations[Press statement]March 20th, 2013Techniques that would create “three-parent babies” cross a crucial and widely observed ethical and social line; safe alternatives exist for the few who would be candidates
Center for Genetics and Society Announces New Leadership[Media Advisory]January 25th, 2013The Advisory Board of the Center for Genetics and Society announced today that Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, has been chosen as the organization’s new Executive Director and that Diane Tober, PhD, has joined CGS as its new Associate Executive Director.
Public interest group calls on FDA to rule "nuclear genome transfer" unacceptable[Press statement]December 19th, 2012“Nuclear genome transfer” would mean uncontrolled human experimentation on future children and their offspring.
Center for Genetics and Society applauds recommendations for improvements in oversight and governance of California stem cell agency; calls for additional changes[Press statement]December 6th, 2012Given the state’s budgetary problems and CIRM's shortcomings, it would be wrong to ask Californians to give it more public money.
Women’s health and public interest groups warn against putting women’s health at risk in new kind of research cloningCenter for Genetics and Society, Our Bodies Ourselves, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, and Alliance for Humane Biotechnology Question Egg Harvesting for Speculative Research October 5th, 2011"We should not put the health of young women at risk, especially to get raw materials for such exploratory investigations.”
Pro-choice women's health and public interest advocates voice concerns regarding fetal gene tests for sex and trait selectionAugust 22nd, 2011Tests raise concerns about the well-being of children, women and families and the prospect of testing for additional traits other than sex.
Public Interest Group Applauds End of UC Berkeley’s Controversial Genetic Testing of Incoming StudentsCenter for Genetics and Society, others previously raised concerns, called for the program’s haltAugust 12th, 2010The University says its researchers will now use students’ genetic samples provided for aggregate analysis only, and will not provide results to individual students.
Public interest group welcomes regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic testsThe Center for Genetics and Society says FDA letters will help protect consumersJune 11th, 2010“Along with other observers, we’ve long said that some of these tests are tantamount to practicing medicine."
Public interest group calls for UC Berkeley to suspend controversial gene tests for incoming studentsMay 19th, 2010CGS is calling for the suspension of a project at the University of California, Berkeley in which incoming freshmen will be asked to provide samples of their own DNA for genetic analysis.
How Far Would You Go? Public Interest Collaborative Announces First-Ever Web Series for Parents on Technologies that Could Alter Human NatureMother’s Day launch to spark grassroots discussions about new reproductive and genetic technologiesMay 5th, 2010A new website and series of short videos on the complex challenges of new reproductive and genetic technologies.
Public Interest Group Praises Court Decision that Human Genes Cannot Be PatentedCenter for Genetics and Society Calls Ruling a Victory for Patients, Consumers and Responsible ResearchMarch 30th, 2010CGS welcomed yesterday's District Court decision invalidating patents on genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, which ruled that human genes cannot be patented because they are products of nature
Public interest groups support groundbreaking challenge to human gene patentsCenter for Genetics and Society, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, other organizations file brief backing lawsuitSeptember 1st, 2009Public interest, social justice, and women’s health advocates filed a "friend of the court" brief in support of a groundbreaking lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Patent Foundation challenging the constitutionality of human gene patents.
Live mice and sperm - both from stem cells - create new social and ethical challengesPublic interest group calls for federal oversight of reproductive usesJuly 26th, 2009Recent developments in cell reprogramming methods raise significant new ethical and social challenges.
Final federal stem cell rules welcomed by public interest groupCenter for Genetics and Society applauds expansion of funding; exclusion of cloning techniquesJuly 6th, 2009The Obama Administration and the National Institutes of Health have made the right call by expanding the funds available for responsible embryonic stem cell research, while excluding federal support for stem cell lines derived using cloning techniques.
Public interest group urges caution in response to genetically modified primatesCenter for Genetics and Society calls for scientists, policymakers to reject human inheritable genetic modificationMay 27th, 2009The Center for Genetics and Society today said that the creation of a transgenic marmoset underlines the need for scientists and policy makers to reject human inheritable genetic modification.
Federal stem cell guidelines welcomed by public interest groupCenter for Genetics and Society says NIH is drawing appropriate linesApril 17th, 2009"The guidelines open the door for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and ensure that it will be conducted responsibly."
Beyond stem cells: Public interest group urges strong regulation and oversight of reproductive and genetic biotechnologiesCenter for Genetics and Society welcomes stem cell policy shiftMarch 9th, 2009CGS welcomed the new federal funding policy for stem cell research announced by President Barack Obama, and called for Congress and the NIH to heed his directive for "strict guidelines" that they "rigorously enforce."
Public interest group responds to postponement of "designer baby" serviceCenter for Genetics and Society calls for federal oversight, hearingsMarch 4th, 2009"We are encouraged by the near unanimous condemnation of an offer to use an embryo screening technique to select the hair color, eye color, and complexion of future children."
Public interest group calls for Congressional hearings on fertility industryIn wake of octuplets and “designer babies” controversies, Center for Genetics and Society says oversight is overdueMarch 3rd, 2009"For too long, America has had an unfortunate reputation as the 'Wild West' of the fertility industry – and that image has been reinforced by recent controversies."
Embryo screening for "complexion" advertised by controversial fertility clinicIVF octuplets and abuses of embryo screening highlight need for oversightFebruary 12th, 2009A new ad on a fertility clinic’s website offers a procedure to select the complexion - as well as the sex, eye color and hair color - of future children.
Public interest group calls for disciplinary action against octuplets' fertility programFlagrant violation of guidelines warrants revocation of membership and demonstrates need for regulationFebruary 10th, 2009The assisted reproduction industry’s professional organizations should revoke the membership of the program responsible for the recent birth of octuplets.
Could genetic technologies set back efforts toward racial justice?January 28th, 2009New and emerging genetic technologies may be hindering efforts towards racial justice, according to a new report issued by the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest group.
Federal Biotechnology Policy: Stem Cells and Beyond Center for Genetics and Society releases policy brief for the Obama AdministrationJanuary 14th, 2009In anticipation of an expected policy change by President-elect Barack Obama regarding federal funding for stem cell research, the Center for Genetics and Society has released a policy brief, "Responsible Federal Oversight of the New Human Biotechnologies: Opportunities for the New Administration."
New stem cell research backgrounder for reporters in anticipation of new policy under President Obama January 9th, 2009The Center for Genetics and Society has released a briefing document to assist reporters in their coverage of the expected announcement of a new federal policy.
Center for Genetics and Society to Testify on Governance of California's Stem Cell Agency November 19th, 2008Jesse Reynolds, Project Director on Biotechnology in the Public Interest at CGS, testified before California’s Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan, independent state body that promotes efficiency and effectiveness in state programs.
Center for Genetics and Society launches online database of human biotechnology policiesAny online user can contribute to BioPolicyWikiSeptember 11th, 2008The Center for Genetics and Society has launched BioPolicyWiki, the first wiki-style compendium of biotechnology policies.
Center for Genetics and Society's Executive Director to Testify before Congress on International Governance of Human BiotechnologiesHearing on "Genetics and other Human Modification Technologies" will be webcastJune 17th, 2008Richard Hayes, the executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, will testify before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on Thursday June 19.
GINA may encourage problematic direct-to-consumer gene testsPublic interest group welcomes Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act as good first stepMay 21st, 2008While the enactment of GINA is laudable, the new law falls short of fully protecting Americans' health and well-being in the DNA age.
Commercial dog cloning is more than just cute puppiesPublic interest groups cite concerns about potential human reproductive cloning and involvement of disgraced cloning researcher Woo Suk HwangMay 21st, 2008Three public interest and environmental groups are strongly criticizing a just-announced commercial dog cloning service.
Public interest group criticizes creation of first genetically modified human embryo Center for Genetics and Society calls for effective regulationMay 12th, 2008A small group of researchers decided on its own to overstep a key ethical boundary that has been observed around the world, with no discussion by the public, the media, or policy makers.
California firm’s cloning results are disturbing; may violate state lawPublic interest group cites three key concerns January 17th, 2008Today's announcement that a private California company has created cloned human embryos is disturbing. This work raises three concerns.
Public interest group calls for CIRM Chair Robert Klein and board member John Reed to step downNovember 29th, 2007CGS today called on CIRM Chair Robert Klein and Board Member John Reed to step down following their admitted actions that appear to violate conflict-of-interest laws.
Cloning-based stem cell research should be "put on the back burner"Public interest group says cell reprogramming tips the balance November 23rd, 2007Efforts to create embryonic stem cells using cloning techniques should be put on hold for the time being, according to the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest organization.
Sea change in cloning-based stem cell research shifts scientific and political debateNew source of stem cells and statements by Wilmut weaken argument for use of cloning techniques, women's eggsNovember 20th, 2007Today's announcement by researchers that they can create powerful stem cells from ordinary human body cells shifts both the scientific terrain and the contentious political debate, said the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest organization.
Monkey Cloning Raises Troubling Questions Unconnected to the Status of EmbryosLegislation is needed to prohibit reproductive cloning and reduce risks to women who provide eggs November 15th, 2007The apparent monkey cloning success at the Oregon National Primate Research Center gives new urgency to important social and safety issues raised by cloning-based stem cell research using human tissues, said the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest organization.
Still Unnoticed: James Watson’s Eugenic EnthusiasmsOctober 22nd, 2007No media accounts so far have cited James Watson's active and explicit support for a new program of eugenics, based not on outmoded scientific theories but on twenty-first century genetic and reproductive technologies.
More Public Accountability Needed in Gene Therapy Death, Says Public Interest Group Center for Genetics and Society Calls for Moratorium on Enrolling Some PatientsSeptember 17th, 2007The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee met today to discuss a recent death in an experiment, but offered no answers to important ethical questions raised by the tragedy.
Public Interest Group Calls for Public Disclosures in Gene Therapy DeathAugust 8th, 2007Troubling new revelations have emerged this week in the death of an Illinois woman in a gene therapy trial for arthritis, prompting the Center for Genetics and Society to call on the federal government to consider firmer regulatory action.
Public Interest Group Calls for Increased Transparency and Accountability in Gene Therapy ExperimentsAugust 2nd, 2007The Center for Genetics and Society called for increased scrutiny, transparency, and accountability following the death of a participant in a clinical trial of gene transfer for arthritis.
New Home Test for Sex of an Embryo at Six Weeks Raises Concerns“Pink or Blue ® Gender Test” likely to lead to increase in sex selection, says public interest groupMay 4th, 2007A new home-based test for expectant mothers allows them to learn the sex of their embryo as early as at six weeks of pregnancy, claims the British manufacturer, DNA Worldwide. This will likely lead to an increase in sex selection, according to the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest group.
Stem cell vote in the SenateEffort to circumvent the culture wars puts women’s health at riskApril 11th, 2007Public interest group says amendment could encourage questionable research that requires women’s eggs
Public Interest Group Calls for California Stem Cell Agency to Investigate its Controversial GrantMarch 22nd, 2007Lawsuit alleges fertility center director lied to obtain woman’s eggs; foreign corporation’s eligibility for public funds due to its recently established non-profit California subsidiary
Public Interest Group Welcomes Bill to Ensure Stem Cell Institute’s PromisesFebruary 23rd, 2007Center for Genetics and Society says California agency must provide for affordable treatments and returns to the state
Vote on Stem Cell Research Spotlights Need for Federal OversightJanuary 10th, 2007The stem cell research bill that is expected to pass the House of Representatives tomorrow is a welcome sign of significant bipartisan support on an issue that until now has been divisive. However, bipartisan support poses challenges for research advocates.
Stem Cell Research in the Midterm ElectionsNovember 8th, 2006Stem cell research was again a contentious and high-profile topic in this year’s elections, but in most races its effectiveness – as a wedge issue for Democrats or a get-out-the-base issue for Republicans – remains unclear.
California Enacts Law to Reduce Risks to Women Who Provide Eggs For Stem Cell ResearchSeptember 26th, 2006The signing of SB 1260, the Reproductive Health and Research bill, is a victory for women's health. The provisions of the new law will reduce the risks to women who provide eggs for cloning techniques used in stem cell research.
Gov. Schwarzenegger missed opportunity to establish oversight of California’s stem cell agencyJuly 20th, 2006Along with public funding should come public oversight. Instead, the Governor gave CIRM a blank check.
Passage Of Stem Cell Bill Spotlights Need For Federal OversightJuly 18th, 2006The lack of comprehensive federal oversight of stem cell research and other human biotechnologies has created a glaring regulatory vacuum.
A closer look at stem cell policy goes beyond the standard debatehttp://tcf.org/publications/pdfs/pb566/Stemcellbasics.pdfJune 27th, 2006Century Foundation and Center for Genetics and Society report sheds new light on stem cell policy
Public Interest Groups Call for "Needed Balance" on Stem Cell Research Oversight CommitteeMay 24th, 2006
Letter to National Academies Regarding Balance on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory CommitteeMay 22nd, 2006
Proposed Policies for the California Stem Cell Program Leave GapsFebruary 9th, 2006
Public interest group gives the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine poor grades for its performanceThe Center for Genetics and Society releases progress report calling for effective oversight and responsible researchThe Center for Genetics and SocietyJanuary 18th, 2006The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS), a public interest and advocacy group, today released a comprehensive progress report critically evaluating the first year of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the agency running California's new multi-billion dollar stem cell research program. The report assesses the CIRM's performance, assigns grades in key areas, and offers specific policy recommendations. The overall grade it assigns for the CIRM's first year is C-.
Resignation of controversial Stem Cell leader highlights need for regulation and oversight of stem cell researchNovember 30th, 2005
California Stem Cell Research Leader Misled VotersNews reports say that chair of new state agency was aware of the billion-dollar problem during the campaignOctober 25th, 2005
New Stem Cell Research Techniques Fail To Address Troubling QuestionsKey issues unconnected to embryos are still missing from the stem cell debateOctober 17th, 2005
State stem cell program moving too fastGoverning board is also failing to fulfill its promises of health benefits and financial returns for the state, says Center for Genetics and SocietySeptember 8th, 2005
Stem Cell Intellectual Property Report Fails to Protect California's InterestCommittee does not include state or public interest, says the Center for Genetics and SocietyAugust 23rd, 2005
Public interest group calls stem cell institute proposals "inadequate"Center for Genetics and Society says working groups must disclose personal financial interestsJuly 11th, 2005
New Cloning Study and Federal Stem Cell Bill Highlight Need for Strong Biotechnology OversightProgressive public interest group calls Castle-DeGette bill "a step in the right direction, but tougher oversight is still needed."May 20th, 2005
Comments on the National Academies Report, Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell ResearchApril 26th, 2005
Center for Genetics and Society reveals 7 of 29 on stem cell board may have personal conflicts of interestHighlights need for effective conflicts policy, public interest group saysApril 6th, 2005
Critics of Proposition 71 Welcome Reform ProposalCenter for Genetics and Society, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research support proposal by Sens. Ortiz and RunnerMarch 16th, 2005
Unregulated Stem Cell Research May Put Women's Health At RiskPro-Choice Groups Will Raise Concerns about an Expanding Market for Women's Eggs at March 9 Senate-Assembly Committee HearingMarch 7th, 2005
Californians Aware, Greenlining Institute, California Nurses Association, CalPIRG, and Redefining Progress Support Lee-Halpern Petition on Ethical Stem Cell ResearchPublic Interest Groups Call on California Stem Cell Institute to Adopt Reforms Requested in Petition by Former US Assistant Secretary for Health and Public Interest AttorneyFebruary 28th, 2005
Critics of California's new stem cell agency support Lee-Halpern petitionCenter for Genetics and Society, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research agree with petition of former US Assistant Secretary for Health, public interest attorneyFebruary 16th, 2005
Public interest group calls for ICOC to adopt rules for public accountability and transparencyFebruary 2nd, 2005
Center for Genetics and Society calls for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to delay grants until guidelines in placeJanuary 3rd, 2005
Center for Genetics and Society Calls for Tough Public Oversight of California Stem Cell InstituteNovember 2nd, 2004
Press conference: Pro-choice opposition to Proposition 71 [audio]October 27th, 2004On October 27, the Prochoice Alliance Against Proposition 71 held a telephone-based press conference featuring a panel of experts.
Pro-Choice Genetics Think Tank Criticizes California Stem Cell Initiative; Is Encouraged by Kerry ProposalOctober 5th, 2004
The California Stem Cell InitiativeSeptember 24th, 2004
Joint statement of Our Bodies Ourselves and the Center for Genetics and Society regarding the report of the President's Council on BioethicsReproduction and Responsibility: the Regulation of New BiotechnologiesApril 1st, 2004
New Canadian Cloning and Assisted Reproduction Law Could Be Model for the U.S., Experts SayMarch 15th, 2004
Response to Cloning Claim December 30th, 2002
Open Letter on Sex Selection to Fertility Industry Trade Group January 18th, 2002


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